Zuko Hlanjwa, a top student in the Faculty of Management Sciences, recently represented the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) at the National Excellence Awards hosted by South African Board for People Practice (SABPP). He competed with the five top performing students from Walter Sisulu University; Nelson Mandela University; North West University; Cape Peninsula University of Technology and University of Johannesburg.
He and other contestants were judged on their academic performance, leadership position, sporting achievements, community engagement and other extra curricular achievements. Thereafter, they had to present and face the panel interview.
As the only representative from CUT to enter the competition, Hlanjwa held the CUT flag high and never disappointed his lecturers and mentors, Mr Jacques Taljaard (Lecturer: Employment Relations) and Prof. Deseré Kokt (Associate Professor: Human Resources Management), who played a huge role in preparing him for the competition. “They mentored and gave me presentation tips and I’m grateful that I did not fail them,” he said. He presented on the topic: Why is a high rate of talent management essential for HR graduates entering the workplace.
The competition was his first and the experience of presenting to professors, doctors, and HR professionals was mind-blowing and inspiring. “Although my eyes were set on the first prize, I am equally grateful for what I achieved, as it means I am the second best student in the country. The experience has shown me that I have what it takes to take HR to greater heights in South Africa and globally. When I got back to campus, I received a victor’s welcome from my lecturers and peers. My achievement was also shared with the entire institution and that is when it hit me that this win is bigger than I thought. It has made a huge difference,” he said.
He has vowed to enter more and more of such competitions for the exposure and growth in his career. His advice to his peers is to always see challenges as opportunities and channel the mind towards the goals and desires. When sharing his future dreams, Hlanjwa said that his short-term goal is to secure a full-time HR job so that he can acquire the necessary exposure and continue growing his career.